6 Alternative Workout Ideas
For those who hate exercising &/or don't have the budget or time.
The first time I went to a gym was with my Dad in our small town at the age of 13. Before that I would do body weight exercises and skipping in my basement (I was bullied for my size and I didn't feel confident enough to exercise outside in public). Working out at the gym was something my Dad and I did together, he made it fun. It quickly became something that bonded us and was an overall positive experience that made me feel good, so I looked forward to it. In a time when social media didn't exist, it was something I saw my parents do, so I wanted to do it too. Then when I began modelling it was something I saw other models do (sometimes in an unhealthy way- which I'm also guilty of, but that's for another article), so it has been a part of my life for a very long time and always will be. Although my mental approach to it has changed over the years, and of course I have days when I don't feel motivated to move, working out is similar to work in the way that if you do something you love it won't be working.
The key is to get to a place where you enjoy your form of exercise, love the way it makes you feel, and it becomes something you feel grateful that your body can do rather than a punishment for what you ate that day. It's all in the mind, think of it positively, whether it's what you're doing or who you're doing it with.. that will make all the difference.
There are so many ways to exercise, and different things work for different people. A lot of it depends on your personal preferences, budget and time constraints. Essentially, you need to JUST START by trying new things (which never ends because that keeps things interesting), then finding something you like.
I compiled a list of workout ideas that will either; make you feel like you're just having fun, easily fit into your busy day, make a minor change to something you already do.
1. JOIN A CLASS
I'm a big fan of those free or discounted trial periods different companies offer. This allows me to challenge my body in new ways and discover new things that I didn't know I'd like. When I work out with a group I push myself more (everything is a competition in my head), get better results, and it generally feels more fun and less of a workout. You can also do it with friends or family members (which holds you more accountable to go), or meet new friends there. Some of my favourite classes I've tried recently are:
MUAY THAI BOXING
This is a down and dirty way of fighting from Thailand. It's a full body workout using so many different muscles that you normally wouldn't and is different from boxing because of it's many techniques (jumps, use of elbow & knees). I was terrified of trying this...so I did.. and after the first class I found myself wanting to do it again and again. If you've been thinking about muai Thai or any form of martial arts, force yourself to just try one class, you won't regret it. It's just as much a mental exercise as it is physical, and gives you a huge adrenaline rush.
Where I go in HK: DEF Boxing, trainer: Natalie. Open 24 Hours. 125 Connaught Road, Sheung Wan. Tel: +852 2840 0162
REBOUNDING (Trampoline Workout)
I wanted to try this class as soon as I heard about it. It looked fun, effortless, and juvenile. IT WAS NOT. Well it was fun, but it was hard work. It made doing squats 10 times harder, actually it made doing everything 10 times harder because of gravity. The increased g-force increases your balance, strengthens your core muscles, and improves your endurance. Also, it's low impact. It was made for people with sports injuries, so it's good for all ages and abilities (it won't hurt your joints).
If you want to see what it looks like in action, check out this vlog:
I laughed a lot, felt really youthful, and left with my whole body on fire, in a good way. If you're looking for something that doesn't feel like a workout at all, then this one's for you!
Bouncelimit Hong Kong, The Pemberton, 22-26 Bonham Strand 13/F, Sheung Wan. Tel: +852 2441 0021
I wish I was good at dancing. It's something I've tried to look like I'm good at, but in reality I'm a very awkward, uncoordinated person. My parents put me in dance since I was 4 years old (ballet and jazz). I'll always remember trying out for the competitive dance team and pirouetting into the wall in front of everyone because I couldn't see when I did them ( I can seem to turn my body and head at the same time, they don't coincide). Although I didn't go on to achieve my childhood dream and become a talented dancer.. I forced people to watch me do it on youtube (OG viewers will know this from my Yokai Taiso & Hatsune Miku dances), and that's good enough because it's just something I enjoy doing for fun (regardless of people's opinions).
I recently started to go to a dance studio that was introduced to me by my friend Joyce, called A-live Studio. They offer a variety of classes with different types of dance. I opted for K-Pop because it was something I hadn't tried before and I love the music. Time flies by when I take a dance class, and it doesn't feel like I did a workout, even for a second (but I know I did because I'm sweaty AF). It's even better when you do it with a friend, and even even better when you take amazing cringey videos of you guys doing it together for Instagram or Youtube. Dance classes can be scary, but BELIEVE me, everyone is focused on themselves getting the moves right and they don't care about what you're doing or what you look like. If you're like me you can take the set of 8-counts you learned that day and practice them like crazy by yourself at home, then go back to the next lesson and KILL IT.
A-Live Studio, 4 Sun Wui Road, Causeway Bay. Tel: +852 3621 5488.
My friend Aydee asked me to go to an aquacycling session with her one day, and after a bit of research I quickly said yes. It's spinning, but make it antisocial (you're in your own little pool so you don't see people or sweat).. SIGN ME UP!
You get onto the bike in your personal jacuzzi (the water is room temperature), which provides resistance (12 times more than air), and a gently massages your legs with it's jets. The place I go to offers iPads so you can watch Netflix or Youtube while you workout. The benefits include, stronger muscles, detoxified skin because the water is oxygenated ozone infused (at my studio anyways), a calm mind (my studio uses Chromotherapy), and a lot of calories burned.
It's quick (30 minutes), effective, and therapeutic. After my session I felt so relaxed and tired that I went home and instantly took a nap, then proceeded to have the best sleep ever that night. No workout has ever done that to me before.
Velocity Studio, Mon-Fri 8:00am-10:00pm, Sat-Sun 9:30am-8:00pm, 14/F, Oliv, 15-21 Sharp Street East, Causeway Bay. Tel: +852 2110 4460
3. YOUTUBE VIDEOS/ GETTING INPSO FROM FITNESS INFLUENCERS
It's free, you don't need a gym or equipment, and you can fit it into your day at any time.
This is the type of workout I do most for the reasons stated above. I usually do 30 minutes of cardio, then alternate between legs & abs (day 1- choosing 1 leg/bum video & 1 ab), or arms, back & abs (day 2, choosing Sanne's arm/core video)- all with youtubers leading me through.
Here are the videos I turn to most:
Alexis Ren's "10 MINUTE AB WORKOUT"
Chloe Ting's "ABS WORKOUT- GET THAT 11 LINE ABS IN 35 DAYS"
LEGS & BUM
Romme Strijd's "15 MINUTE LEG WORKOUT"
Chloe Ting's "GET THAT TONED LEGS AND ROUND BOOTY WORKOUT"
Alexis Ren's "10 MINUTE BEACH BUTT WORKOUT"
Sanne Vloet's "15 MIN UPPER BODY WORKOUT"
You can also use fitness apps. My favourite is 8-fit because it has great short simplified workouts and delicious recipes. There's a lot of good healthy recipes and workouts available for free online, just look around and give them a try.
4. DO YOUR DAILY ACTIVITIES DIFFERENTLY
Minor changes can make all the difference.
-park further away
-take the stairs instead of elevator
-ride your bike or walk to school/work/wherever you're going
-consider a standing desk (I love mine!)
-do a little bit each day before you go to bed. If I don't have time to workout, sometimes I'll just do a quick 20 push-ups, 50 squats, and 50 sit-ups before calling it a night.
I especially love hiking in Hong Kong because there's so many beautiful scenic trails, most just a 30 minute drive out of the city. This is especially fun to do with a friend/partner/family because it mixes in some good conversation with great views, fresh air, and exercise- all at your own pace.
6. ADD IN CARDIO
If you have an hour to watch youtube or Netflix, or be on Reddit.. you can get in a workout. Just take your phone or iPad and do it at the gym while your walking or running on the treadmill, riding the bike, or on the elliptical (or whatever your cardio machine of choice is). If you're not into watching/ reading things, listening to a podcast or audiobook are also good ideas to keep you entertained (and slightly distracted).
I hope you found this article useful and got a bit of inspiration to get moving in your own way. Let me know in the comments if you've tried any of these classes/methods and what you thought of them. Are there any other fun workouts you'd recommend me to try?
*Nothing in this article is sponsored, these are all my own opinions.
**These types of classes are offered all over the world. So even if you don't live in Hong Kong you can probably find it (or something similar) near you.